5-Day Carros de Foc Trek From Hut to Hut
Bookatrekking.com Trips - 5 days
Regular days with
- 10 - 15 km per day
- 500 - 1000m ascent per day
- T3 Trails
Overview> Enjoy the Catalonian Pyrenees and walk from hut to hut
> Spend your nights in cozy mountain huts
> Cover over 65 kilometres and over 3,500 altitude metres
There are a lot of opportunities for hiking in the Spanish Pyrenees, but does it get any better than the Carros de Foc? To be fair, it's also one of the best-known multi-day hut-to-hut hikes in the area. Rather obvious, because with 65 kilometers, over 3,500 meters of elevation gain, and 9 welcoming huts, an epic adventure awaits you on the Carros de Foc. Hiking in, quite a mouthful, Parc Nacional d'Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici doesn't get any better than this. Are you ready to discover the wild and adventurous side of Catalonia?
Carros de Foc is Catalan for Chariots of Fire and although no one knows why the trek carries this curious name, we dig it. The route was created in 1987 when the caretakers of the refuges in Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici Park decided to visit each other's huts, resulting in a beautiful circular hike, connecting all the mountain huts, "Refugi" in Catalan, in the area.
During this 5-day adventure, where you hike from hut to hut, you will start and end in Espot. You walk high into the mountains, encountering many natural highlights along the way. You will stay overnight in cozy mountain huts, where you will meet other hikers and enjoy breakfast, dinner, and a picnic lunch. We have selected 4 out of a total of 9 mountain huts to stay overnight, based on the length of the daily stage. During your daily walks, you will pass by some of the other huts.
Why book with us?
You can hike the Carros de Foc independently and self-guided. However, stringing an itinerary with all the accommodations together can be complicated. Bookatrekking.com has warm contacts with all accommodations on the Carros de Foc and we can take the load of booking every accommodation yourself off your shoulders. Let us help you to make your Carros de Foc memories stress-free and enjoy free hiking advice from our trekking experts while you're at it.
RouteWhat's the plan?
Stage 1: Espot - Refugi Josep Maria Blanc - Refugi Ernest Mallafré
It is a gentle but constant hike up to our Refugi Josep Maria Blanc. Here you can get your stamp card and a detailed Carros de Foc hiking map. Also, if you need an extra t-shirt, you will be sure to find a Carros de Foc t-shirt here as well. Enjoy a quick coffee or lunch and keep hiking uphill until you've reached about 2,700 meters. From here it will be a gentle downhill hike to Refugi Ernest Mallafré. You will see that Mallafré is a basic refugi with not too many amenities; it's an absolute classic.
Distance: 15,7 kilometers
Time: 6 hours
Vertical gain: 1,370 meters
Vertical loss: 750 meters
Stage 2: Refugi Ernest Mallafré - Refugi de la Restanca
Today is a tough day at the office with almost 7 hours of hiking. This day can be split into, resulting in an itinerary with more days. On the way, you will have the possibility to recharge yourself at Amitges, Saboredo, and even Colomers. Don't get tempted to sit down for too long, because you don't want to be late for supper in Refugi de la Restanca. This stunning refugi is situated right at the shore of a dam.
Distance: 19,1 kilometers
Time: 7 hours
Vertical gain: 1,220 meters
Vertical loss: 1,100 meters
Stage 3: Refugi de la Restanca - Refugi del Estany Llong
Again, not the easiest day, but it will be worth it. Refugi Ventosa i Calvell is a relatively short hike from Restanca and once you check in there for your stamp, you will see it's quite a busy hut. This is due to the fact that Ventosa can easily be reached from Vall de Boi, one of the main entrances to Aigüestortes. Here you will be sure to find good pizza and pasta sourced from local organic produce. After a quick break and collecting your stamp, it's time to keep moving towards to Estany Llong. This refugi is less busy than Ventosa, a perfect place to spend the night.
Distance: 14,1 kilometers
Time: 6.5 hours
Vertical gain: 1,260 meters
Vertical loss: 1,280 meters
Stage 4: Refugi del Estany Llong - Refugi Colomina
After a few tough days, you have deserved an easier one. After breakfast, you can take the entire day to cover the 4 hours of hiking that is planned for today. Still, you are climbing almost 800 meters today. That is the only way to reach Refugi Colomina, the highest of all Carros de Foc refugis. This refugi has been revamped not so long ago. It offers splendid views over the Southern section of Aigüestortes. An excellent place to spend your last night on the Carros de Foc.
Distance: 11,5 kilometers
Time: 4 hours
Vertical gain: 750 meters
Vertical loss: 350 meters
Stage 5: Refugi Colomina - Refugi Josep Maria Blanc - Espot
The Carros de Foc is not done yet. You will have completed the full circuit once you check into Josep Maria Blanc for the second time. This hike will take you about two hours. On the way there, you will come across a few lakes like Estany de Mar and Estany de Saburo. Once you see Estany Negre de Peguera, you may recognize the same trail from a few days ago. Now you are well on your way to Josep Maria Blanc and, finally, Espot. Well done, you've conquered the Carros de Foc!
Distance: 13,6 kilometers
Time: 4.5 hours
Vertical gain: 250 meters
Vertical loss: 1,340 meters
√ Booking the huts
We will take care of arranging accommodation for you. We will also provide you with a detailed itinerary for every stage and instructions on how to get to the trailhead.
We will arrange your accommodation on the Carros de Foc in mountain huts (refuges). There are several options to choose from along the trail. We have selected the refuges on our trek based on the length of each stage and recommendations from trekkers who have done the Carros de Foc before us.
√ 4 nights in refuges including full-board
Accommodation at the refuges includes dinner, breakfast, and a picnic lunch. We will arrange this for you as well. This allows you to travel lighter and have one less thing to worry about.
× Transport to Spain
You have to find your own way to Espot. The price does not include transport to and from Spain. Bus tickets and other transport costs are not included.
Once in Spain, you will have to make your way to the starting place in Espot. We will provide the instructions and assist you with how to get there. Transport to Espot is not included.
× Accommodation before and after the trek
Accommodation before and after the trek is not included.
× Travel Insurance
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before your trek.
× Personal expenses
Personal expenses such as souvenirs, drinks, and other similar expenses are for your own account.
During your Carros de Foc trek, you will mostly spend your nights in mountain huts. In the mountain huts we normally only book dormitories, but we can look into private rooms on request. If the private rooms are fully booked or not available in the hut, we book automatically a bed in the dormitories for you. Please note that private rooms are more expensive and there will be an additional charge for this. The booked accommodations may differ from the below program here and there. A beautiful location and great food are at all times guaranteed.
Refugi Ernest Mallafré
This refuge is located at 1,950 metres high and is a good place to finish after the first day of hiking. Enjoy a meal and a drink and get ready for the next day.
Refugi de la Restanca
This beautiful refuge is located at 2,010 metres, next to a lake. You can enjoy a good night's sleep and a chat with fellow travelers here. After breakfast the next morning, you are good to go again.
Refugi del Estany Llong
This refuge is located at 1,985 metres high and offers everything you need after a day of hiking. A shower, a meal and a place to sleep. The next morning, you are ready to go again.
Located at 2,425 metres, this is the highest place you will sleep during this trip, a special experience. Enjoy the views surrounding the refuge and have a drink after another beautiful day on the trails.
Packing ListPacking list
It doesn't matter where you are going trekking or for how long: Carrying the right equipment with you is paramount. For a hiking trip in Carros de Foc, you will need, first and foremost, a good backpack. The size of your backpack will depend on how many days you will be spending in the mountains, the season, and the clothes you will be taking with you. We have prepared a packing list with some essential clothing that you should include and some extras that you may find useful:
- Walking boots (worn in)
- Walking socks
- Base layer tops – ideally thermal
- Mid-layer tops (eg. fleece)
- Trekking Trousers
- Hat for warmth or shade
- Waterproof jacket
- Waterproof trousers
- Warm layer.
- Casual clothes & footwear for evenings.
- Nightwear and underwear
- Water bottle
- Sunglasses & sun cream
- Cash for in the huts
- Sleeping bag liner
- Small first aid kit
- Blister Plasters
- Insect repellent
- Electrical socket adapter
- Camera and charger
- Map and compass
- Reading book(s)
- Energy snacks
- Walking poles
Where is the Carros de Foc?
You can find Carros de Foc in the Pyrenees, about 4 hours northwest of Barcelona, and because they are the Pyrenees after all, basically on the border with France. Carros the Foc is located in Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park.
You can get to Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park in different ways. Also, you can start the Carros de Foc at every connected refugi. Not every refugi is easy to reach though. Also, Aigüestortes can not be accessed from every side. It is the easiest to enter Aigüestortes from the Espot side. This will bring you to Josep Maria Blanc and onto the Carros de Foc route. This is why we have chosen Espot as the starting point for the trip.
How do I get to Aigüestortes?
Espot is about 4 hours from Barcelona and 3.5 hours from French Toulouse. Both these towns have an international airport and are well connected with other key cities in Europe. Here you can either rent a car and drive to Espot, or use public transport.
From Barcelona, you can first take a bus to La Pobla de Segur. From here you can take another bus to Espot. It's not easy, but if you plan at least half a day for traveling and want to travel on a shoestring, it is worth it.
The easiest way to get to Aigüestortes and Espot is to go by car. From Barcelona, it's about 4 hours and 260 kilometers. From Toulouse, you can count 3.5 hours. In Espot you can find various options for long-term parking.
The Carros the Foc is a safe trek and the trail is quite well signposted along the way. Although the route is quite clear throughout the trek, it is important to carry competent navigation with a map and compass. Weather conditions can be unpredictable in the mountains and occasional snow, fog or storms can make navigation hard. A map and compass are a must when going on a self-guided trek. Also, make sure to always have enough water, snacks, and a good jacket.
The most important thing to do in an emergency is to stay calm and survey the situation. Do not panic or take useless risks if the people in trouble are difficult to reach. In an emergency, first and foremost, call for assistance. When calling for help, make sure to provide your location and the number of victims and type of injuries. Then, protect the victim from cold and other environmental threats and administer first aid, if you can.
Reception is not a given in Aigüestortes. About 70% of the Carros de Foc route doesn't have reception. However, the Emergency Number can be reached on most of the route. Always let your peers know what you are doing, which direction you are headed, or plainly, what your itinerary looks like.
Useful emergency phone numbers:
General Spanish Emergency Number: 112
Park authorities Aigüestortes: +34 973 69 61 89
The Covid-19 pandemic has had its grip on us, and accommodations around the world have had to take several preventive measures over the past two years. In the meantime, most of the measurements are not taken into consideration anymore, yet it is definitely still a factor to take into account. Some restrictions that are worth mentioning:
- Don't go on your hiking trip if you have symptoms.
- Not all the accommodations are allowed to operate at full capacity yet, so make sure you book your stay in advance.
- Keep your distance and hygiene.
- Use disinfectants and hand sanitizers.
How to Book
How to Book?
On Bookatrekking.com you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking your match? In that case, you can proceed with your booking. At Bookatrekking.com you make a deposit of 30% of the total amount. In the case of this trek, we will check the availability at the respective accommodations for you. There are two possible outcomes:
√ There is availability
We go ahead and make all necessary arrangements for your trip. Once confirmed, we will send you a confirmation and your personal hiking guide. The remaining 70% must be paid at least two (2) weeks before the start of the trekking.
X There is no availability
If there is no availability, we will look for other starting dates or another trekking in agreement with you. Are there no other options for you? Then your deposit of 30% will be refunded.
If all the accommodations of this trekking are booked and confirmed, you will lose your deposit of 30% at all times. If you cancel within 14 days of your start date, you will lose your full booking amount.
Is it not quite clear yet or do you have questions? Please contact us via email@example.com. We are happy to help you.
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